Hitting the wall in the marathon: Phenomenological characteristics and associations with expectancy, gender, and running history

Matthew P. Buman, Britton W. Brewer, Allen E. Cornelius, Judy L. Van Raalte, Albert J. Petitpas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: This study was designed to identify salient characteristics of hitting the wall in the marathon and to assess the frequency of self-reported occurrence of the wall as a function of expectancy, gender, and running history. Design: A correlational research design was used. Method: Participants (218 men and 97 women) from three Eastern Seaboard marathons in the United States responded to items regarding general demographic information and expectation of the wall prior to the marathon. After the marathon, participants were asked to report the occurrence of the wall, whether they experienced each of 24 potential characteristics of the wall, and the impact of these characteristics on performance. Results: Approximately 43% of participants reported that they hit the wall during the marathon. Logistic regression analysis indicated that generalized fatigue, unintentionally slowing pace, desire to walk, and shifting focus to survival were salient characteristics of the wall. Logistic regression analyses indicated that male gender, expectancy of hitting the wall, shorter distance of longest training run, and previous episodes of hitting the wall were associated with reports of hitting the wall. Conclusions: Several robust characteristics of the wall were identified. Occurrence of the wall phenomenon appears to be more prevalent among men than among women and may be influenced by expectancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-190
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Recreation & leisure
  • Running
  • Sport psychology
  • Sports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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